Israeli Energy Minister Karin Elharar criticized Oct. 17 the attack last week by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the new water deal signed between Israel and Jordan. Interviewed by the army radio station, Elharar accused Netanyahu of attempting to damage relations between the two countries. “The leader of the opposition is creating fake news and claiming that we are giving the water for free, which didn’t happen. There are no free gifts, but relations that need to be developed. This is a strategic asset to Israel,” noted Elharar.
Recent developments in Jordan and its immediate neighborhood have raised questions about the stability of the regime in the kingdom, and with that, have aroused concern in Israel. The questions stem from the possible ramifications of the economic crisis in Jordan, especially among the tribal Bedouin population, which is the traditional support base of the monarchy, and from the response to the reforms that the king intends to implement in the parliamentary electoral system; from the direct challenges by various Jordanians toward the monarchy; and from the changes in Jordan’s regional policy, especially regarding Syria. The stability of the Hashemite regime was and still is an important cornerstone of Israel’s security. Any significant change in Jordan’s political-military orientation or undermining of the regime could have implications for Israel’s strategic balance.
After three months of deliberations, which were marred by controversy, public skepticism and the resignation of three members, the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System handed its recommendations to King Abdullah Oct. 4. During the meeting the king said, “The democratic model Jordanians seek is an embodiment of the political will and national interest. The political system establishes for a new and critical phase in line with efforts to modernize the state in its second centennial … that political reform is being implemented in parallel to the government’s economic and administrative reforms.”
Israel and Jordan agreed today on a plan for Israel to double the quantity of fresh water it provides to the drought-stricken Hashemite Kingdom. Energy Minister Karine Elharrar met her counterpart, Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammed Al-Najjar, to sign the agreement in Jordan. Israel’s Ambassador to Jordan Eitan Surkis, Jordanian Ambassador to Israel Ghassan Al-Majali and the heads of the Israeli and Jordanian water authorities were also present at the signing ceremony.
Jordan hosted Lebanese and Syrian officials Wednesday for a discussion on providing energy-starved Lebanon with electricity.
The energy and electricity ministers of the three countries met in Amman. They agreed to restart an electricity line between Jordan and Syria as a first step toward providing Lebanon with electricity. Jordan’s Minister of Energy Hala Zawati said they set up technical teams to work on the project but did not give a timetable, the official Petra news agency reported.
The conversation, announced by the royal palace on Sunday, was the latest step in a recent normalisation of ties between leaders who had long been on opposing sides in Syria’s civil war, with Jordan supporting Syrian Western-backed mainstream rebels seeking to drive Assad from power.
Newly leaked financial documents have revealed that the King of Jordan has secretly spent more than $100m on property listings in the UK and US, sparking criticism as the country continues to struggle with skyrocketing unemployment and austerity measures.
The Pandora papers, shared over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), have revealed that King Abdullah II between 2003 and 2017 amassed an international luxury property empire that includes 14 homes from Malibu, California and Washington, to central London and Ascot, UK.
At dawn, blue and pink rays start to break over Dana’s mountain ridges. Birdsong and rustling leaves are the only sounds in the valley.
Spread over 300sq km (116sq miles) from towering sandstone cliffs to desert plains, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is Jordan’s largest and most diverse protected region but its days of quiet and natural beauty may be numbered.
The American interaction with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has revolved around two men, King Hussein, and his son King Abdallah. Both have ruled a Jordan that is surrounded by ambitious states, some with rapacious designs on Jordan’s territory over the years. Syria has longed to reunite Jordan with its traditional Syrian homeland. Iraq has had designs on the whole country. Saudi Arabia has sought to gain Aqaba and Ma’an in the south. Egypt sought for years to absorb Jordan into the United Arab Republic. Israel has taken the West Bank and contemplated taking the Jordanian Golan.
All of Jordan’s neighbors have stronger economies and bigger militaries. Jordan is bereft of natural resources aside from its fabulous archaeological sites in Jerash and Petra. It is very dependent on outside aid, first from Great Britain, then from America and the Gulf states. It still is dependent on outside assistance to maintain its small but effective army and air force and to keep the economy stable.